Last week I had a speaking engagement four hours from home. Rather than take public transportation and then rent a car to get to my destination, I decided to drive. I hadn’t driven this long a trip by myself since I was in college. A “boomer,” that was a while ago and I must admit I was not feeling very confident. But equipped with my cell phone and my GPS app, I knew that all I needed to do was listen and follow Waze’s lead. And indeed, I was successfully led to my destination by the voice of the app.
The morning after my speech, I set out to drive home. I took out my trusty phone only to realize it was “frozen.” I could access nothing! I tried rebooting, shutting down, tapping it, cursing it, looking for how to remove and restore the battery. I tried again, and again, and again, but to no avail. After a frustrating twenty minutes, I got on the road, and headed south in the direction of home.
After two indecisive moments of “almost taken” highways, I stopped for gas and looked for a map. The maps at the store did not show where I needed help. Which route? Which bridge? What’s fastest? Where is the construction? Damn I missed Ms. Waze. Without the digital and external voice telling me which way to go, I arrived at my destination safe and on time. While I wasn’t thrilled to make the trip sans GPS, I kept calm and positive and just kept truckin’. In the end I felt elated that I overcame my directionally-challenged insecurity.
Wow –I realize how utterly technology-dependent, (particularly GPS-dependent), I’ve become.
And as I got to thinking more about this experience, I was reminded of my clients, who feel frightened and compromised to deliver their presentation without slides. I’ll get lost if I don’t have them. I won’t remember what comes next. I won’t know where to go. (Sounds awfully familiar to my GPS situation, right?)
Slide dependency, like GPS-dependency can be a kind of addiction. If your phone freezes or your computer crashes, the drive and the presentation must go on if you want to reach your goal. You need to trust yourself, venture forward, deal with wrong choices, and stay in process. Navigating unknown roads without a map or app and navigating public speaking without slides as cues may feel new, awkward, and challenging. However, succeeding without technology is possible. And when the goal is accomplished, the reward is huge – a sense of confidence that is so satisfying.
Speak with or without slides, drive with or without a navigation system, but let go of being absolutely dependent on technology. Your belief that without technology, you will have trouble, be forever lost or never succeed, is possibly just an excuse that prevents you from trusting yourself, taking a risk and accomplishing your goal.